Will the Wings trade?

I am not a trade wizard and I never will claim to be one, but in this post I will try to summarize some speculation regarding the Detroit Red Wings and the upcoming trade deadline (3pm on February 27th).

Yesterday, Joey MacDonald was placed on waivers. While this will alleviate $117,000 in salary cap space, the move was done because goaltenders Dominik Hasek and Chris Osgood are now both healthy and can practice. MacDonald wasn’t getting the practice time to make it worthwhile for him to stay in Detroit.

“Every goalie in our organization is healthy now, and Joey needs to play,” Holland said. “We know by putting him on waivers there is a risk he is claimed, but if he stays around here — we’re down to the month of March, and we have a lot of games. We don’t have a lot of practice time. When we do practice, Hasek takes one net and Osgood the other because he wants to be ready. Joey grabs 10 minutes at the end of practice.”

Bill Khan at MLive.com also noted the following:

Holland said it would be difficult for MacDonald to get playing time with Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League. The Red Wings will try to get MacDonald hooked up with another AHL team before the league’s Thursday roster deadline or look for an opening in the East Coast Hockey League.

GM Ken Holland is actively looking for a forward and it’s been rumored that Keith Tkachuk and Bill Guerin, who both play for the St. Louis Blues, are the leading candidates. However, it seems that the price is very high for potential rental players since they both become unrestricted agents this summer and could very well leave the team after the playoffs. Holland isn’t willing to pay the current price and is hoping that the price will fall closer to deadline. If this does not happen, we may not see a big trade this season for the Wings.

“There are prices we won’t pay,” Holland said before the Red Wings hosted the Edmonton Oilers at Joe Louis Arena.

“We’ll just sit on the sidelines and do nothing. I’m hearing that Monday or Tuesday as we get closer to the deadline and teams are sitting with players, prices will come down. If the prices don’t come down, we’re just going to sit on the sidelines and go into the playoffs with this team. It’s ridiculous right now.”

As much as I would love to see a big trade happen (maybe that’d fire up our fanbase a little), I certainly don’t want Holland to give the farm away so hopefully those prices will come down a bit. I’m going to my first Wings road game in Chicago on Tuesday and I’m hoping to see a new face in a red and white jersey.

“I’m doing lots of talking, we have lots of irons in the fire,” Holland said. “Nothing is imminent. Are we going to make a deal? I don’t know. It depends if the price is right. We’ll see.

“If we don’t do anything, we don’t do anything. If we find a deal we think improves our team, we’ll do it. But we’re not going to make a bad deal just because everybody thinks we need to do something.”

St. Louis Blues’ president John Davidson told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the team is not close on deals for either Guerin or Tkachuk.

“We had conversations again (Friday), and again there’s nothing there yet that’s finalized by any means,” Davidson said. “When I say finalized, I mean we may trade, we may not trade. That’s not been totally decided yet.”

Davidson denied a rumor that the Blues had a deal in place to trade Guerin to the New York Islanders.

When reached Friday, Guerin said he hadn’t heard anything. The same goes for Tkachuk, who is heavily rumored to be heading to Detroit or Atlanta. The Red Wings attempted to clear some salary from their payroll Friday when they placed backup goalie Joey MacDonald on waivers.

“I’m like everybody else, waiting to see what’s going to happen,” Tkachuk said. “I’m getting ready to play Sunday in Chicago. Whatever happens, happens.”

Lyle Richardson at Spector’s Hockey wrote about the Western Conference teams in his most recent Soapbox. Here’s what he said about the Wings:

DETROIT RED WINGS. Remain one of the top clubs in the West, thanks (as always) to a good mix of veteran talent and rising young stars. It’s believed management will try to bolster their scoring depth by the trade deadline, but even if unsuccessful there’s enough talent on this team to keep them among the best in the league.

Nice article on Spector

Dave Stewart wrote an article for The Guardian about Lyle Richardson, the man behind Spector’s Hockey. The article quotes reporters, bloggers, and former NHL players about Spector’s logical analysis and accuracy.

Each morning he reads every online newspaper in each of the 30 NHL markets, posts trade rumours as reported by those papers and inserts his analysis. His website is now considered a must-read for NHL reporters as well as current and former NHL players.

“I visit the site on a daily basis,’’ says Erik Erlendsson, the reporter who covers the Tampa Bay Lightning for the Tampa Tribune. “What I appreciate about his site is he responds to rumours and doesn’t just spread them.’’

Paul Kukla, who writes for the NHL’s website, said he makes at least two stops every day on Richardson’s site to make sure he hasn’t missed anything.

“He breaks it down the way it should be,’’ Kukla said in a telephone interview from Detroit. “None of this anonymous rumour stuff. He gives us the chance to make our own opinions. He gives us both sides of the story and let’s us decide and that’s what I feel a true hockey fan should do.’’

Race for the Central Division title

From February 21st through March 2nd, the Detroit Red Wings will take on the Chicago Blackhawks three times in a span of five games. With the race in the Central Division, and consequently the Western Conference so close, the Wings will have an opportunity to get a leg up on Nashville in the last month or so of the season.

From now until the end of the regular season on April 7th for the Red Wings, they will play 12 of their 21 games against opponents who are as of this moment not making the playoffs. While they do have 9 more games against some of the top Western Conference teams, 5 of these games are against the Nashville Predators. Basically, the Wings will determine their own fate. If the Wings can win most of their games against non-playoff teams and win the series against the Predators, the Wings will have the top spot in the Central Division regardless of their performance in the other four games.

Personally, I don’t care if the Wings win the Western Conference or not. That hasn’t really helped us in the past. However, the Wings don’t play well against Anaheim or San Jose it seems and I would prefer if we didn’t have to play either team in the first round of the playoffs. By winning our division, the Wings won’t have to play either team (according to the standings right now) in the first round.

Nashville has 22 games left in the season. 13 of which are against playoff contenders while 8 are against teams that are not making the playoffs at this point. 3 of those 8 games are against the Edmonton Oilers and Colorado Avalanche who both have 62 points as of last night. While the playoffs appear to be a longshot for these two clubs, it still is a possibility.

Based on my comparison of the two teams’ schedules for the remainder of the season, it appears that Detroit has a slight edge as a majority of their remaining games are against non-playoff teams. Ultimately, the division title will likely rest with the team who wins the series between Nashville and Detroit.

Zetterberg looks to No. 19

As a big Steve Yzerman fan, I felt I had to report this quote I saw via George at Snapshots.

I guess I’m not the only one who has a picture of Yzerman placed prominently as a source of inspiration. McKeen’s Hockey recently interviewed Henrik Zetterberg. Their first question asked Hank how the team has adjusted to the absence of Yzerman and Brendan Shanahan. Part of his answer included the following quote:

You are never going to replace those players. I would be naïve to tell you that. Their presence in this locker room helped to shape the Wings into Stanley Cup Champions. There is a picture above my stall where I change of Yzerman so I am fully aware of the contributions he has made every time I dress for the Red Wings.

Going to the game!

I’m very excited to announce that I will be going to my first Red Wings road game next Tuesday (yep, the evening of the trade deadline) to see the Wings play in Chicago!! I’m really looking forward to going and my dad’s going to bring his nice camera to take photos for BtJ.

Plus, we got row 7 tickets in the lower bowl on Ticketmaster for $80. You would never get those seats on Ticketmaster for Wings home games and you’d have to pay at least $150 for them on Stubhub so I was really excited, but also sad that the Chicago market is that sucky.

I’m also planning on going to the Wings home game next Friday (March 2nd) with a friend. Next week is my Spring Break and I was supposed to go to Florida, but it fell through at the last moment so instead I’m going to Chicago, Windsor, and hanging out at home.

Wings looking at Guerin

The Detroit Red Wings are calling around and looking at forwards still available. The market is shrinking with Peter Forsberg, Ladislav Nagy, and Shane Doan no longer available. As a result, those players that are available will come at a higher cost. We should see even more trade action on Sunday when all the GMs hold meetings for three days in Naples, Florida.

I’m not great at trade predictions especially since I can’t watch any other teams play outside of their games with the Wings. From what I’ve read around the web, these are the leading candidates for the Wings open forward job: Bill Guerin, Keith Tkachuk, Todd Bertuzzi, Gary Roberts, Martin Gelinas, Ryan Smyth, Martin Lapointe, and Owen Nolan.

The 36-year-old Guerin seems to be the most ideal fit for the Wings due to (1) his low salary at $2 million and (2) his style of play (tough, yet can score goals).

He’s now the mostly highly coveted player up for grabs. A big, tough winger with a good scoring touch (26 goals), he would solve two problems for the Wings — offense and toughness. The price will be steep, however, and so will the competition. And with a cheap contract, any team can fit him under the cap.

However, he won’t come cheap. The St. Louis Blues are going to want to get as much for Guerin as possible.

Blues President John Davidson says the team has several options when it comes to Guerin, but sources say the club wants to capitalize on his trade value.

“Listen, here’s where it is with Billy: Billy didn’t play in the playoffs last year, and Billy didn’t play the year before because there was no hockey,” Davidson said. “Billy is a guy that, you never know, if he did get traded, and that’s a big if, he may want to come back during the summer. If we miss the playoffs and Billy’s here and we didn’t re-sign him, we’d be caught with nothing. That’s not a good thing for the future of the St. Louis Blues. There’s all kinds of different options with a guy like Billy.”

Spector’s Trade Rumours believes that the price can be a worthwhile investment for the team that lands him.

It’s not a question of “if” Guerin is moved, but when and to which team? The asking price is believed to be a player/prospect and a first round draft pick, which is pretty steep, but might be worthwhile if the team that acquired him can also re-sign him.

Wings talking contracts

There is a great article by Ansar Khan detailing where the Wings stand on re-signing Wings players.

The Wings lost out to Nashville in the bidding war for Peter Forsberg. GM Ken Holland did make an offer for Forsberg that included a first round pick, second round pick, and possibly a prospect from Grand Rapids.

Talks with Pavel Datsyuk and his agent, Gary Greenstin, have continued with Holland. Vice president Steve Yzerman has sat in on dinner discussions. Their last meeting was last night before the Wings game in Phoenix. While talks haven’t been going great, the Wings are encouraged by the progress since they were incredibly far apart earlier in the season. It’s believed that Datsyuk wants $7 million, but the Wings aren’t likely to offer more than $5 million especially with Henrik Zetterberg only making $2.6 million for two more years.

I was a little surprised to hear that the Wings are planning on offering Kirk Maltby another contract assuming he’s willing to agree to a price lower than his current salary of $1.368 million. Khan also briefly mentioned where the Wings stand with five other players.

There has been no recent dialogue between the club and defenseman Mathieu Schneider. And the Wings will wait until after the playoffs before deciding whether to offer one-year deals to goaltender Dominik Hasek and defenseman Chris Chelios. Their other unrestricted free agents are defenseman Danny Markov and center Robert Lang, the latter of whom is not likely to return.

Holmstrom happy with extension

Ansar Khan at MLive.com reports that the contract extension is worth $2.25 million per season. Tomas Holmstrom is very happy with his three year contract extension.

“I want to stay in Detroit,” said Holmstrom, 34. “It worked out … from both sides. The family wants to stay here. The organization’s been good to me through the years. I’ve been here 10 years and it’s been a great experience. I want to win the Stanley Cup every year — and this is a good place to be.”

“I love Detroit,” Holmstrom said. “The fans of Detroit have been great. Why move? I’m comfortable with the deal. I’ve been here so long. It’s home … just fortunate to have the chance to be here three more years.”

GM Ken Holland was comfortable with a three year extension in part to Holmstrom’s recent offensive success. This is his second straight season with at least 20 goals. In the last 10 games, he has six goals and six assists.

“He’s obviously a real important guy for us,” said general manager Ken Holland. “He goes to all the hard areas. Certainly at his age, we were comfortable with the term of three years.”

“Tomas, last year, had 59 points,” Holland said. “He had a breakout year with 29 goals. This year, he’s got 20 (goals) again.”

Wings extend Holmstrom’s contract

Tomas Holmstrom will remain with the Red Wings for at least another three seasons due to the contract extension signed today by both parties. Terms of the contract have not been released.

George Sipple of the Detroit Free Press speculates that it’ll be worth around $2 million per year.

The deal is believed be worth a little more than $2 million each season. That’s a hefty raise from Holmstrom’s current salary of $1,501,000.

“He’s obviously a real important guy for us,” said Wings general manager Ken Holland. “He goes to all the hard areas.

“Certainly at his age, we were comfortable with the term of three years.”

Congrats to Homer and I’m happy to learn that he’ll be staying with the Wings.

Forsberg traded to Nashville

So as most of you know by now, Peter Forsberg was traded to the Nashville Predators this evening. Who did the Philadelphia Flyers get in exchange? Scottie Upshall, Ryan Parent, a first round pick, and a third round pick.

”There is a time and a place to step up and make a big move,” said Predators general manager David Poile. ”We felt it was the time and it was the place. We’re thrilled to get (Peter Forsberg). We gave up a lot to get him, but we feel it’s worth it. This franchise has been built on draft picks so it’s not easy to give them or our good prospects up, but it was time to take a chance and do it a little differently.”

TSN’s Bob McKenzie breaks down the trade:

But here’s the bottom line for both teams.

Forsberg was expendable and the Flyers took a future consideration package from Nashville that was, by far, the best offered to them.

And Nashville has more than enough depth and emerging prospects that they can afford to roll the dice on a potential high impact Cup clincher.

As for the teams that lost out on the Forsberg sweepstakes, now keep your eye on the St. Louis Blues. Keith Tkachuk and Bill Guerin never looked so good.

Before I get to the round up of what other bloggers are saying, how will this impact the Detroit Red Wings?

Well, the Wings were supposedly one of the leading candidates to land Forsberg. Obviously that didn’t happen and he instead went to the #1 team in the Western Conference and the team ahead of the Wings in the Central Division (admittedly, by only one point). GM Ken Holland will have to look elsewhere for an offensive threat. Hopefully, we’ll make some waves by the trade deadline and not acquire a Cory Cross type like last season.

The race for the Central Division is going to get tougher on the Wings part with five games still remaining between Nashville and Detroit. The Wings need to win the division, in my opinion, because I don’t like who we would face as a number four seed. As of right now, we would face San Jose in the playoffs and that terrifies me.

Personally, Forsberg would have been a great addition to our Swedish team had he remained healthy. I don’t know about you guys, but I get stressed out enough just think about Hasek and his injury-prone body. I couldn’t imagine my stress levels had there been both Forsberg AND Hasek to worry about. Plus, I still get to call Forsberg Floppa. I know many of you call him Foppa, but I personally like Floppa.

Holland told the Detroit News that the Wings did make an attempt to the Forsberg, but the asking price was too much.

“We made a pitch,” general manager Ken Holland said, “but they (the Flyers) got themselves an offer they liked. Nashville got itself a very talented player.”

The Wings were interested in Forsberg but weren’t interested in trading so much of their future.

“Nashville essentially traded away three first-round picks,” Holland said.

The Blog Round-Up

James Mirtle believes that while the deal wasn’t bad for either team, the Predators got more out of this trade because of how Forsberg will help the team on and off the ice.

I like this move from the Predators’ perspective. There are a handful of teams for whom this deal makes sense, and Nashville’s one of them. With the best record in their conference and a good bet to hold home-ice advantage throughout the postseason, the Predators now boast an incredible seven players with 40+ points.

This isn’t to say Philadelphia didn’t make out well. In a lost season, with only 20+ games remaining, the Flyers simply need to sell commodities for future assets, and they did that here in getting Parent alone.

Eric McErlain at Off Wing Opinion brings up a very valid point that this trade will hopefully inject some excitement into Nashville and get more fans into the arena.

That’s a heck of a price to pay for what may amount to an 8-week rental, but it’s a trade that’s sure to electrify the fanbase in Nashville and help pack fannies in the seats come playoff time.

Andy Grabia at Battle for Alberta wonders how this trade will impact what other Western Conference teams will do before the trade deadline.

Peter Forsberg has been traded to the Nashville Predators. Was it too steep a price? Depends on whether he stays healthy, I guess. The effect it will have on the rest of the Western Conference will be interesting. Will it trigger more moves? I’d imagine that the Red Wings, at least, are now going to be more aggressive in improving their roster.

IwoCPO at Abel to Yzerman added his two cents about the trade:

Kulfan didn’t say if Holland made the statement while rocking back and forth in the fetal position, sucking his thumb and staring at the upside-down Petr Klima poster on his office wall.

DD Captain Khan (!) makes a good point in his blog that if you’re looking for the best of a bad situation, consider this: we’re probably going to see the Duckies or the team we don’t speak of (San Jose) in the first round, so seeing Floppa headed to the heart of hockey apathy is not the worst that could have happened.

Mike Chen talks about the trade at The Battle of California:

Now, I was well aware that Nashville was as much as a favorite to win the Cup as our beloved California teams. But getting Peter Forsberg without touching their roster — and the fact that Forsberg has looked much better over the past ten games than he has all season — is just, well, kind of unfair (said in the least whiny way possible). Assuming Forsberg’s as healthy as he says he is, the Preds are getting a guy who never disappears during the playoffs. Don’t forget the year when he missed the entire season, only to lead the playoffs in scoring without even going to the Cup finals.

Jes Golbez at Hockey Rants thinks this move makes Nashville look like a pretty sweet team come playoff time.

Talk about selling the mansion to rent a cottage!! The Preds are obviously going all-in on a straight flush like the Carolina Hurricanes did last year.

With some serious offensive firepower up front, and great goaltending, the Predators are one scary looking team at the moment. They are already 2nd overall in goal scoring and sport the best goal differential in the league (+55).

If this move doesn’t generate some ticket sales and excitement in Nashville, just give it up and move the frickin’ team!

Let’s not also forget that the Flyers get a great return on a guy they signed as a free agent and were likely to lose… that’s a lot for ‘nothing’.

JJ at Canucks Hockey Blog adds his two cents about the trade:

As a Canucks fan hoping for a good, long playoff run, I say, “F***”. With Forsberg in the lineup, the Nashville Predators just got a heckuva lot better. Any lineup with Forsberg, Arnott and Legwand down the middle, and Sullivan, Kariya, Dumont and Erat down the wings is downright scary.

On the flip side, I’m glad Nonis wouldn’t – and didn’t – overpay for him. In Canucks terms, the Nashville Predators gave up Luc Bourdon, Ryan Kesler-ish, plus first and third round draft picks for Peter Forsberg. As good as this Canucks team has been, I don’t think anyone would be upset that the Canucks didn’t acquire him at that price.

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